Annual Conference on Open Educational Resources Concludes

Annual Conference on Open Educational Resources Concludes

September 30, 2006

I’m just back from the annual Open Education Conference sponsored by the Center for Open and Sustainable Learning and led by the brilliant David Wiley on the lovely and scenic campus of Utah State University in Logan, Utah. The good news is Wiley’s conference once again brought together, I dunno, maybe 100 or so leading academics who are working together to create and use high-quality, free, customizable learning materials in place of costly proprietary educational products, including course management systems and textbooks. The recent progress in these areas discussed in many of the panel presentations is remarkable. The bad news, however, is that for the second year running I was once again the only attendee who has any formal connection to a community college anywhere in the United States, with the exception of one of our dedicated Deans from the Foothill-De Anza Community College District who attended last year. So here is the picture: we’ve got some of the best brains from schools of higher education in the country, MIT, Rice, UCB, Carnegie Mellon and others, collaborating to create totally free learning materials using methods that make these resources not only free but also of higher quality owing to their open and collaborative production methodology. These groups have already created free, high-quality textbook substitutes in many fields, including science, math and philosophy. And the group that could best help tailor these materials and get them into the classrooms where financially needy students would benefit from them the most are still, years now after this opportunity became both obvious and apparent, missing in action.

About the Author /

hplotkin@plotkin.com

<p>My published work since 1985 has focused mostly on public policy, technology, science, education and business. I’ve written more than 600 articles for a variety of magazines, journals and newspapers on these often interrelated subjects. The topics I have covered include analysis of progressive approaches to higher education, entrepreneurial trends, e-learning strategies, business management, open source software, alternative energy research and development, voting technologies, streaming media platforms, online electioneering, biotech research, patent and tax law reform, federal nanotechnology policies and tech stocks.</p>

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